Monday, December 28, 2009

those four little words

Most of the time, when you hear a woman talk about little words and getting excited about it, its always 'I love you.' For today's blog, that's not the words I'm thrilled about. Don't get me wrong, I love, love. I just had four days filled with love. My father in law announced he was engaged, and we got to spend time getting to know his fiance. I'm so happy for them! They're going to be getting married in New York in April. This wedding is yet another incentive for losing the weight I need to lose. I can't wait to go shopping for a new dress, in a new smaller size! We spent the rest of the weekend with our spiritual family. It's always awe inspiring to experience that much love. I'd also like to add, that when people get together, we eat. Most of the time, not so healthy either. I'm sad to report to you all that this weekend, was a diet fail for me. I believe we ingested all that was put in front of us on a plate, bowl, or napkin. We ate everything under the culinary sun, from chili to chinese and from torte to truffle. The only healthy thing I had was the fat free dairy creamer for my coffee that accompanied my upside down pineapple cake.

In the midst of all the feasting, came the words that I love to hear. 'Are you losing weight,' my sister in law asked? She's been out of the country, and hasn't seen me for almost a month. I was so excited, I could have kissed her! She said that she could tell that I was losing weight. And I beamed from that the whole rest of the night. You never know what good or bad impact your words will have on people. After hearing this, I felt even more motivated than ever! Sure, I went ahead and ate what I wanted to. But you better believe that this week, I'm going to continue what I was doing the week before. Eating healthy. Cooking lighter. Exercising harder. Much love to all!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

makeover chocolate chip cookies

Who doesn't love chocolate chip cookies? I've yet to meet someone who does not like chocolate chip cookies. I know I do. So, I found a recipe online for a healthier version. This recipe uses half the normal amount of butter, an egg white instead of a whole egg, and uses cocoa powder to enhance the chocolate taste, instead a ton of chocolate chips. These aren't the most aesthetically pleasing cookies ever, but my tummy didn't mind and yours won't either! Enjoy!

* 1/4 cup butter, softened
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 1 egg white
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1/4 cup cocoa powder
* 1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until creamy. Add egg white and vanilla and mix until well blended.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Gradually add flour mixture to egg and sugar. Use a wooden spoon to work the dough together. Don’t worry if the dough seems a little crumbly at first. (this is an understatement, the dough is VERY crumbly) Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop cookie dough by the teaspoonful on to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat if you have one. (the cookies look tiny before baking, but fluff up nicely after they're baked :)

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. (DO NOT OVERBAKE! I cooked mine for 10 minutes, and after cooling, my cookies are crunchy which is no bueno!)

Makes around 30 cookies (recipe made 23 for me)

Per Serving: Calories 65, Calories from Fat 21, Total Fat 2.3g (sat 1.8g), Cholesterol 5mg, Sodium 44mg, Carbohydrate 10.3g, Fiber 0.5g, Protein 0.7g

Here's the nutrition facts for a 'regular' chocolate chip cookie: Per Serving: Calories 423, Total Fat 22.08g - YIKES!!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

monthly progress report

I decided it would be a fabulous idea to provide a monthly progress report. Lately, I've been experiencing a bit of what you seasoned bloggers might call, 'writers block.' I finally felt inspired to write today after almost a week. Sorry for the delay!

First of all, I weighed in today and I'm down 18 pounds from when I first started just over a month ago. I was able to color in my chart A LOT today! This is mainly because I lost count on my own chart, and wrote down a couple of numbers two or three times, example: 17, 16, 17, 16, 15... (I've never, ever, been good with numbers) but still it was nice to get a visual of the solid chunk of weight lost that's gone forever, colored in on my chart. This means that I'm only two pounds away from receiving my next reward of a mani/pedi!

When most people lose 18 pounds, they notice a huge difference in their body. Since I have so much more to lose than your average person, with 18 pounds lost, the changes I'm noticing aren't drastic. I haven't dropped two dress sizes, but I have noticed some other subtle goodness. My jeans fit better, dare I even say looser! I'm starting to notice definition in my face and shoulders. Mentally, I feel a hundred times better about myself and the healthier choices I'm making for me and my family. When I first started, I took a 'before' picture to help track the physical progress I'm making. After I've lost a total of 30 pounds, I'll post a side by side comparison photo. That's something I'm looking forward to a lot!

Like most everything else in my life, I feel like I could use more structure. I need more scheduled workouts, meals and menus. I'd also like to be more prepared for situations that come up out of the norm. That's my new goal for this next month. I'm appreciating all the support of my friends, family, and blog readers. It seems for almost every single new post I make, I have a new blog follower, which is very motivating. I'm going to keep writing, and you keep on readin' ya'll!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

do i look like a manager of a gym?

The answer to that question is, no. I don't exactly fall under the 'fit' category. I've never seen a 'plump' gym employee, let alone a manager. People who work for gyms usually fit this stereotypical mold of fit bodies, bulging muscles, and freaky orange tanned skin. I recently saw an add on craigslist that a job was open for a manager of a Snap Fitness gym in my area. Don't get me wrong, I love 24 Hour Fitness, but alas, they're not hiring. I opened the ad, I read the ad, and then I closed the ad. Who do I think I am? I'm really overweight, yet I want to manage a gym? Then I opened the ad again. Then I applied for the job.

The old me probably would have never even applied for the job. But the new me decided it might be a cool idea to manage a gym. First of all, no one is perfect. I'm a work in progress. Struggling with weight is something I've dealt with all my life, and I can certainly sympathize with other people who have gone through the same struggle. Gym members and I can inspire one another and reach our weight loss and healthy goals together! And wouldn't I make an awesome success story for Snap Fitness to feature in their newsletter? Not to mention, I know customer service, management, and even operating the gym equipment. I personally think people would be more apt to approach me at the gym and inquire about a membership, verses a scary steroid poppin', weight liftin' crazy eyed manager.

I just got an email back from the owner who is currently reviewing all resumes. You never know what your future may hold!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2010 challenge

Last year, I participated in my office's version of 'Biggest Loser,' and lost the highest percentage of body fat, and won the grand prize! I beat out about 10 other people, and took home the jack pot cash prize of over $300. That was really exciting, and frankly the best thing about working for that company. I would absolutely love to try out for the next season of the Biggest Loser show, hang with Bob and Jill, and maybe even cook a meal with the Take Home Chef cutie patudi, Curtis Stone. Sadly, my circumstances don't allow for that (although it is my dream to someday go see the live finale show in LA). When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right? So, I was excited to see my best friend post this:

ATTENTION EVERYONE!!! My company is doing a 2010 Biggest Loser Competition! ANYONE can play! It is played with Partners but you can play Individually if you don't have a Partner. 8 Teams played last year - 1st place winner one $640 and 2nd place won $160! Please let me know if you are even SLIGHTLY interested and I'll answer any and all questions!! :D

That's right, its my new challenge for 2010! You have to find things to keep you motivated and interested in losing weight. This competition lasts about three months, and starts Jan 4th. I've also learned that my brother will be participating in this challenge as well! Its so awesome to have support from both your friends and your family, so I'm looking forward to the friendly competition in this challenge with him. Also, after the three months are up, we're going to continue the challenge between him and me throughout the duration of 2010. The winner between the two of us will get an assuredly awesome, but not yet determined prize. Stay tuned!

Friday, December 11, 2009

eat to beat the flu

Eating right obviously didn't prevent me from getting the common cold once the chilly weather set in. I'm writing this from home on a sick day, in my jammies, with a box of kleenex by my side. But who knows, maybe eating right will prevent the dreaded.... (insert dramatic music here) SWINE FLU!

A magazine I recently picked up had some great information about food that could be our best line of defense in the staying healthy war. These super foods have been proven to boost the immune system and fight off infection.

1. Drink Green Tea: It has powerful antioxidants to fight diseases.
2. Try Green Chilies: (i.e. serrano, jalapeno, poblano) These peppers have vitamin C and capsaicin - it's what makes your mucus membranes work, so you won't get stuffy!
3. Nibble on Oranges: One orange provides 100% of the daily value for vitamin C, strengthening your immune system.
4. Chomp on Apples: They contain antioxidants that act as a natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory.
5. Eat Yogurt: The 'good' bacteria in yogurt, helps pump up the immune system. This 'good' bacteria helps find a balance between the 'bad' bacteria in your belly, and studies also show it can help reduce fever, cough and runny nose.
6. Dine on Salmon: Best source of vitamin D which helps to neutralize a variety of infections bugs in your body, including the flu virus.
7. Sip Chicken Soup: It reduces mucus production, and it's an anti-inflammatory.

Who knew, food could be nature's best RX for what makes us sick. Stay well everyone!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

teeny tiny mini little debbie

Give me the choice between filet mignon and cheesecake, I'll always choose cheesecake. I'm a sucker for sweets. That's why I think its uber (yes, uber) important to have a better alternatives. So, I was obviously stoked to see Little Debbie had put out 100 calorie snacks. We immediately grabbed the chocolate cake box and threw it in our grocery basket. The box says, 'Fresh Taste, Right Size!' Fresh taste I'll give them, but right size!? Seriously? Check out my photo above. I know I have abnormally large fingers and all, but please, give me a portion size that's fit for someone larger than a fairy. I'd just like a little bit more bang for my calorie buck! It looks like I'm going to have to put my apron on and start experimenting with recipes and Splenda. Move over Little Debbie, here I come!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

feelin' the funk

Remember when you were in school? You had a favorite class, right? My favorite class was English. Anything related to English (i.e. journalism, yearbook, etc). There were a few other classes that I really enjoyed, and that was strictly because of the teacher (props to Ms. Kovar, hollah!). Sometimes, teachers can make or break the subject that you're trying to learn about. For me, I'm finding that the same principle applies to my Zumba fitness classes.

We joined 24 Hour Fitness a few weeks ago. If only my High School PE teacher could see me now. I'd yell BOO-YAH directly in her face if given the opportunity. I love my gym. I love the convenience, the hours, the equipment, and the free group classes. My favorite class is Zumba, though I'm struggling, trying to find my favorite teacher to really make the class pop! The gym closest to my house offers Zumba on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday - which is ideal. However, the teacher is a little Nazi (ok, maybe I'm a little too dramatic, but you catch my drift) and non informative, she doesn't wear a headset to instruct the class on how to move. There's another gym I've been going to on Monday nights where I meet up with some friends. The gym is a good distance from our house, and there's always other mutual friends that I don't really know, and sometimes I feel like I don't quite fit in. Plus, the regular instructor just left on maternity leave. That leaves us wondering each week who is going to teach the class, if they're going to show up, and if we'll actually be learning Zumba! Last night there was a hip-hop teacher substitute, who - in my opinion, focused more on choreography than getting our hearts pumped. I'm left feeling a little bummed on this Tuesday morning. Hopefully I can get out of this funk and get into my classes again.

Monday, December 7, 2009

tis the season

Its that time of year! You break out your fuzziest slippers, warmest blankets, and giant mugs for your favorite drink, hot chocolate. Is there a hot chocolate out there that is not bad for you AND tastes good? We thank you, and salute you, Swiss Miss hot chocolate company! You've managed to create a 25 calorie hot chocolate that fills our need for that sweet treat, but doesn't pack on the pounds. You can find it at your local wal-mart, but if you really don't want to venture out in the cold to get it, you can always order it here:

Sunday, December 6, 2009

adios reeces pieces...

Hello internet! Please, nerds, take a moment from Googling Lt. Uhura to read my words.

So here's the deal, let's get down to specifics. I weighed, at the beginning of this, 215 pounds. I've weighed as much as 235 in the past in high school, but this is the most I've weighed since then. I don't like it. I have so many reasons to knock some of this weight off. I already have health and back problems so I don't need more. If I ever become a dad, I don't want to be a fat dad. And I have this:


That picture is me at our rehearsal for our wedding. I weighed 185 then and I felt really good about it. So that is my target weight, my goal, the guy I want to be. My goal is to lose those 30 pounds. Currently I feel like I'm doing a lot of good work at the gym by kicking my own butt at the good ol' 24 Hour Fitness. But now its time to put down the chocolate cake and the Reeses Pieces. Boo. That's going to be my biggest struggle - food. I love it. I love big burritos and fast food and all the little things that make me jiggly. So let's do it!

mission impossible, weekend edition

First you get sucked into a vortex where time speeds at an incredible pace, and you have trouble finding time to exercise. Then, bad-for-you-food becomes more accessible and even more appealing. Next thing you know, you're trying desperately to flee from dangers, pitfalls and set-ups. Dodging the free lunch pizza on Friday. Running away from the apple fritter at Quik Trip. Avoiding all the traps at the Dos Reales Mexican restaurant.

That last one is a toughie! Just look at the ingredients in their salad. It was under the 'healthy' section of the menu. I'll take mine minus the queso, and avocado ranch please! Don't forget that the reason the whole wheat tortilla shell is cripsy, is because it's deep fried. And it had an entire entourage of chips n salsa friends to go with it! Never be afraid to be the picky eater. Your body will thank you.

Entertaining guests can also be challenging when you're trying to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Yesterday, we had some folks over for dinner. My menu consisted of ham, sausage cranberry stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes, salad, and whole wheat rolls. It could have been worse. There's no excuse for my raspberry torte, but sometimes you just have to splurge... but just a little! Judging by everyone's smiling faces, I think it's safe to say this weekend had a happy ending.


Friday, December 4, 2009

bon appetit... or not so much

I love me some Julia Child. I also love her butter laden dishes and pastries. I need to change that. So, yesterday evening I attempted cooking a healthy makeover version of chicken and rice. Looks pretty good right? Chicken, rice, and some veggies? Wrong. I must say, this is a chicken and rice fail. First of all, I have never been the biggest fan of this dish, so I'm not sure why I thought it would be even better with 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup, and brown rice. It took almost an hour and a half to bake to get the rice really tender, which is valuable time that I don't have. Try if you dare, and here's to hoping yours tastes better than mine:

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (98% Fat Free)
1 cup water *
3/4 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice (we used brown)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)

Stir the soup, water, rice, paprika and black pepper in a 2-quart shallow baking dish. Top with the chicken. Season with additional paprika and black pepper. Cover the baking dish.
Bake at 375°F. for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender.

*For creamier rice, increase the water to 1 1/3 cups.

Fortunately not all was lost with dinner. We also had a cute little vegetable medley. See those green things that kind of look like peas? They're not peas, they're infamous edamame! Up until yesterday, it was something I had only seen and heard on episodes of Chopped on the Food Network! They're little baby soy beans that don't taste too shabby, and also are a good source of protein! (Matt might disagree with the whole tasty part, to quote, "Boo little edamame, boo.")

For dessert I had a skinny cow dessert sandwich. Ice cream that's not bad for you, need I say more?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

goals Goals GOALS

I believe in the power of goals. All my life I've been taught to have goals, and accomplish them. It's something you can pride yourself in when you reach it. There's ity bity goals (like getting up on time, when the alarm goes off in the morning... its my on-going-goal), and great big huge goals! When it comes to losing weight, goals AND rewards are essential. What we have here in the photo above, is our goal chart. Matt's weight numbers are visible, mine however, are not- thanks to the wonders of photoshop. There's just some things a girl can't share! I will say that my current plan is to shed 50 pounds by April.

In the middle are our rewards. For Matt, every 5 pounds he loses, he obtains a reward. As I have more to lose, I get rewarded for every 10 pounds that I kiss goodbye. Matt's final reward is a puppy! Don't make fun of my spelling of dachshund. It could have been worse. I once saw it spelled on a flyer like this: "Reward: Missing Brown Doxon." (Note to sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers of Matt and I, this is a warning that you may not want to read what all my new outfit reward fully encompasses!)

When we 'weigh in', be it every day, every other day, or when we darn well please, we color in our progress on the chart. In the words of my bestie, "work work work. color color color. reward reward reward." Not a bad motto to live by.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

the perfect blog title

I sat around brain storming with my BFF and hubby about what my perfect blog title would be. Then it hit me, 'Negative Equals Positive.' Weight loss is the only time in life when being negative (i.e. the number you're down on the scale) means a positive thing. I'm excited about weight loss, food, exercise, and getting myself in shape physically and emotionally. I hope that somehow through this blog, I can keep myself motivated, and also motivate others out there who are aspiring to reach their goals, however giant or tiny they may be. My husband Matt is going to be a co-author here as well. We're in this together, a team, a dynamic duo! Right now we're in the third week of making changes for the better, Matt has lost 5 pounds, and I have lost 13. Goals and rewards we have will be coming in another post. We've recently joined 24 hour fitness (PROUD sponsor of the Biggest Loser. Yes, we're biggest loser nerds. So while you're at it, vote for Amanda to keep her from elimination, - by 3PM eastern today: and we love it there! I've been taking a lot of zumba classes that they offer, and I think everyone else should too. As those who Zumba say, 'Ditch the Workout, Join the Party!' - Check out information about Zumba near you @ One other thing, I just purchased my very first iPod!!! Its going to help me get closer to our eventual goal of running a 5K. More information about the Couch to 5K program to follow in future posts. Here's a picture of my little jewel I got yesterday!